Contractors: American Institutes for Research; Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.; Decision Information Resources; Education Northwest
School Improvement Grants (SIG) are authorized by Title I, Section 1003(g) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The purpose of the grants—awarded based on the Title I funding formula to SEAs, which then distribute the funds to schools in eligible LEAs—is to support the turnaround of the nation's persistently lowest-achieving schools. To qualify for funds, schools must (among other requirements) be implementing one of four prescribed intervention models: turnaround, restart, closure, or transformation. About $550 million were allocated in FY 2009 for SIG with a supplemental $3 billion in FY 2009 from ARRA. With the possibility of rollover funds, this amounts to at least a $3.5 billion injection into the SIG program over the next three years. This study aims to provide real-time, in-depth information about the school turnaround efforts funded by SIG, focusing on two primary questions:
This study focuses on a set of in-depth school-level case studies. A core sample of 25 SIG schools will be selected from six states. Data collection will include interviews with each state's SIG leaders, a teacher survey, as well as site visits to the case study schools that include analysis of fiscal records, as well as interviews and focus groups with district officials, principals, teachers, parents, union officials, external support providers, and students twice a year over the course of three years. There also will be two sets of approximately 10 schools selected for special case studies, with one set focused on SIG schools with a high proportion of English Language Learners and another focused on rural SIG schools. These case studies will examine the change process in schools implementing school turnaround models funded by SIG, leading indicators of successful implementation of the models, and a cross-site analysis to provide information to policymakers, schools that are implementing or considering implementing turnaround models, program staff, and other key stakeholders.
Cost/Duration: $8,001,528 over 5 years (September 2009–September 2014)
The contract was awarded in September 2009, and a report entitled "Baseline Analyses of SIG Applications and SIG-Eligible and SIG-Awarded Schools" was released on May 9, 2011 (see http://ies.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=NCEE20114019). A second report entitled "School Improvement Grants: Analyses of State Applications and Eligible and Awarded Schools" was released on October 24, 2012 (see http://ies.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=NCEE20124060). Two years of site visits have been completed, and the third (and final) year of site visits is currently underway. A report detailing findings from the first-year site visits is anticipated to be released in 2013.